The Black Hole | Page 105 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Post number 3327 has been selected as best answered.

Whats In A Name?

It was hot humid august night. The winds have all but vanished. I was doing my best to keep the sweat out of my eyes. The A/C was dying in my 94 Explorer, lovingly named "Pugly", and there was no relief in sight. I decided it was time to stop throwing good money into bad. I was gonna do the unthinkable,.......I was going to commit the most heinous crime of them all! I was going to trade Pugly in for a newer model! Oh the heart break! The insanity of it all! I couldn't believe the thoughts were even going through my head.

I managed to get the old girl back home, to her resting place. She seemed at ease in her familiar surroundings. I had to come up with an explanation to let her know of my evil plan. So i just gave her that old wink and grin that she likes to see from me as we made it back home from another day of adventure in the treacherous Midwestern terrain. I did my best in hiding my cynical thoughts, as I walked around to her rear flank and gave her that little pat on her bumper, as I always have when we part for the night.

The next morning I gave her a real good bath, cleaned behind her mirrors, and brushed her grill. She still looked pretty good for her age. Oh sure she had the tell tale signs, gravity has got its firm grip on her, and I am not the best cosmetics guy in the world. she didn't seem to mind too much, she still kept her nose up and drove with pride.

After looking at many vehicles I just could not find anything that had the same feel as my old girl. Then it happened! Was I seeing a mirage? Was I so desperate to find another rig that I was blinded by insanity? I found my replacement! I quickly made a sale with the owner, and brought it home.

When I pulled in the driveway, my heart sunk as I looked into the yard to see my 94 looking at me in disbelief. She was sunning herself in the grass looking all shiny and then, she just looked away from me. My heart was tearing in two. I parked the new rig, and walked up to her and gave her a soft spoken "Hello". No reply. I tried to tickle her mirrors, no response. The tension was so great, you could have cut it with a 32 count fine tooth hacksaw. I had to explain to her that she gave me great satisfaction for many years, and we made a terrific team together, but the time has come for her to just relax and enjoy her final days. She finally revved up, and understood, her days as my work horse has ended (so we thought).

I introduced her to her daily driver replacement. The shiny new(er) next generation of her kind. The 95 Explorer XLT. She warmed right up to it. Before you know it they were swapping stories. Now I had to ask her for help. I needed a name for the new ride,
so I went to find her, and what did I see? Those two were grill to grill in the driveway. rubbing chrome! I had to get the water hose out and break them up! Sheesh, she was acting like a girl at the prom dance! I let the name thing drop for awhile.

The new(er) Ex needed to get its shots, and a physical. When I got the word on it's health, I about had a coronary. "What do you mean Doc"! I yelled. "Your kidding right"? I asked. The Doc just shook his head and gathered his tools. As he walked away, He said it had a 50/50 chance of survival. My stomach knotted up, my teeth ground, my heart raced, and I could feel the energy build up as I let it all out, "Why! Why! Why did this have to happen"! I screamed.

The prognostic exam from the doc was as such. It had a blown steering rack, the shocks were gone, the brakes were non existent, front sway bar was cracked in half, the 3rd brake light was out, none of the windows or the moon roof would work, the door locks were broke, the rear end LS clutch pack was burned up, the tires were all in need of replacement, the spare was a Firestone recall and flat, the engine had a nasty tick to it, the TPS was shot, the MAF was corroded, the battery had a dead cell in it, the hood shocks were not working, the rear hatch lock was jammed up and you couldn't open it with out a key in the lock, The carpet was stained to no repair, the rear window wiper didn't want to work, and we could not tell what year its engine swap came from. it was a mess, to say the least.

I went in the house to get my gun. I was gonna just put it out of its misery right there and then. I suddenly realized I was out of ammo, from shooting at the jeep that was in my field. I went to the computer to find a place to buy some cheap ammo, and I stumbled across this website, that said it could heal any ford Explorer no matter what the problems were! I jumped for joy, I could not believe the things I was reading! I wore out the search button, asked a bunch of questions. I quickly broke out my pen and paper, feverishly writing down things as I was learning! I had found a cure for everything that was wrong with my new transport. It was a Godsend, an angel from the SUV heavens!

I sprung into action. I worked day and night, Pugly was right by my side the entire time, helping me in any way she could. I never seen this side of her, and was really amazed at how well she handled the pressure. She gently squeegeed the sweat out off my fore head with her soft wiper blades as I worked away. After an entire weekend of work, I collapsed. I needed some rest, and so did the 95. The sun crested over the hills, and awoke me to a new day. I shuffled my feet to the window facing the driveway, peeled the drapes gently back, and peered out at the 95. WOW!
It had a its color back, and was looking great! Now as the time went on, (and most of my paychecks), and the selling of almost everything I own, for funds to get the 95 to its former glory.

After some time to reflect on this name thing, I strolled up and whispered into Pugly's passenger side mirror, and she giggled with delight.

I climbed up onto the front bumper in my pajamas and robe half opened, with a cup of coffee in one hand and the daily newspaper in the other, I raised my arms with out stretched hands and proclaimed the new name of the 95.

BEHOLD...........THE BLACK HOLE!!!!!!!! (Then the neighbor yelled at me to close my robe)

The End................(or is it just the beginning?)

Actually, only some of this really happened. :D

View attachment 324381

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Cool, I hope they fit great. I have a pair of cheap pleather knock off seats from Summit, to recover if they work out well. The high side bolsters may be a lot of trouble to get into and out of a lot.

I suggest installing those and try them, live with them as they are before thinking of altering anything. I expect I'll have my bolsters shortened some, and fill the holes in the top of back rest, before have them recovered .

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Wow, what a big box you have.

I'm jealous. My spine is jealous. I bet those are going to feel nice.

do you need a harness now or will the factory seat belts work?

Thanks guys.

This rig has some seats that I have yet to see in another explorer. They have high seat and body bolsters, almost the same as these Corbeau's. They have inflatable thigh bolsters, & inflatable lumber bags. They also have the adjustable fronts for under your thighs, that extend or shorten the seats. They have 6 way power adjustments, and leather backs with huge map pockets. They are pretty darn comfy actually, except the drivers side had a spring clip come off right under the tailbone, and the bags leak after a while. They are in great shape for as old as they are, with no tears whatsoever.Everybody that has sat in the pass seat has always made a comment how nice they are.

So why did I replace them? Well, I have tried to fix the spring clip years ago, and it lasted a bit, but it came back off, and stabs me in the you know what. I'm not really sure how to fix it any better, so I just dealt with it. I said to myself, one day when the opportunity arises, I will get a new set and move on.

I sat in a set of these Corbeau's last year, and they felt really nice. They are a Daily driver style reclining suspension seat, that is supposed to help with long distance/hours fatigue. A recent trip that took 12 hours non-stop home, about broke my back, and I was laid up for a while, in pain afterwards. So, I said heck with it, just get them, roll the dice, and see if they help or not.

Baja RS ordered, & delivered.
The seat base brackets are made for 92-01 explorers. (91 has it's own) Corbeau has figured a way to make the same seats, and make bases for a lot of different vehicles. The bases come with a solid mount, a single slider or a double slider. They offer goodies such as lumber bags and heaters. Out of all the seats they make, only a small amount are recliners. I chose a recliner, as I know I can't do a sold back. I also chose the double sliders, and a drivers side lumber bag. They offer a few different choices in covers. All BIack leather or vinyl, A cloth middle either red, grey or black. I chose all black with a black cloth middle. I thought I read they come with a rear map pocket, but these don't. I am bummed about that. I checked the website, and it was this seats bigger (more expensive) brother, the XRS, that has the map pockets.

So I just installed them.

To answer Jons question, I did have to use the stock seatbelts. It was an easy swap, that only takes a minute to change out. These new seats have the slots for a 5 point harness if I want to do that some day.

I read the directions first, and was taken back a bit when I read that these are specific for my application, and nobody does it better, but they go on to say I might have to alter or make adjustments for them to fit. Hmm... Okay?? So I did a dry run and sure enough, the base brackets do not mate up to the stock bolt holes. Dr side had one rear bolt hole off by 1/2" to the side. Pass had one front mount a 1/2" too high, and the bar needed bent outwards. So I bent the bar, marked the holes where they needed to be, and opened them up with a Burr bit. All good now, so installed them both. I had to move my external CB speaker from the B pillar to the C pillar, as it was stopping the seat from reclining back. No biggie, just had to rerun the wire thru the trim to reach farther back. The cool part is there is a ton of room to get your hand under the seat, and you can actually see under it. lol

Ok, so now they are in, it was time to sit in them. They are stiff as hell. There is no give to them at all. I was expecting to sit and say AHHH.... Nope. I really hope they soften up, and break in over time. The head rest is a tiny bit higher then the stock set, and they sit about the same height. I cant tilt the seat section with these, like I did with the stock set, so I have to get used to them. I am definitely getting a good set of covers with a map pocket for them, first chance I get.

Before hole.jpg
After hole.jpg
pass side view.jpg
Rear view.jpg
Under seat view.jpg

I like those, they have a nice shape. The reclining is a must unless it was perfect out of the box, for one person.

Did you compare the seat base bolt pattern to the OEM seats? If they match or can work, the Ford seat tracks can be used. I haven't tried to fit mine yet, but I intend to relocate the seat controls into(or onto) the new seats.

Agreed, I couldn't do a solid fixed back. I need to be able to adjust for different uses, and for my back when it cramps up. lol Some people have no problems with them tho, so it is a personal choice.

I didn't even think of comparing the base. A friend is taking the old seats, so the thought to take them apart to check never crossed my mind.

The bottom of the seats do have 3 bolt holes on each corner. That's to fit all the different bases they make. Never know, it just might fit.

The seats are 5" high. The base is 3" high. The sliders add 2". I'm not sure how high the stock base track is.

There are just four bolts for the stock seats to the tracks, I'd guess the tracks are 3" at the lowest level. I noticed that the manual seats of my 91 are much lower than the power seats.

I'm going to try to adapt the Explorer seat track to my Lincoln seat, in that car. I have an extra Limited seat track, and wiring, to make the memory seat function happen. My Lincoln never had the option, but the door trim has a cut out for the switch(it'll bolt in). I just have to make a seat track fit that has the memory motors in it.

Who do you know that'll do all this stuff I think of, for cheap labor?

Don, that would be a job for Bandit Customs in Austin. They do a lot of work on seats, and specialize in interchanging Ford parts to work with each other. Can't say about the pricing tho. lol

Oh, I thought you'd volunteer, to just drive on down here for a year or two and catch me up. You are awesome at getting something done on your trucks, all the time. Keep it up.

guess you dont know how much heavier they are compared to the stock seats?

Sorry, I was like a kid on Christmas Morning unwrapping a huge present. I didn't even think of anything but, installing them, as fast as I could. :burnout:

The website says each seat is 28 lbs. The brackets feel to be around 5 -8 lbs.

They also say that the brackets only work with the Corbeau seats. :dunno:

So another Saturday spent tinkering away on this rig.

I connected the slave line to the cylinder, connected a tube and catch bottle to the bleeder, then hooked up my gravity feed bottle to the reservoir. I let it bleed at a slow to moderate pace, and ran about 8 oz threw it. They say 4 oz is enough, but I let it go longer. I never seen one air bubble in the drain tube while I watched it. Okay, so far so good.


I pushed on the pedal with my hand as I stood outside the rig. It went to the floor easily. Yeah, figured it couldn't be that easy, something has air in it, for the pedal to move that easy.

So I checked real quick for any wet spots. Nada, nope, nothing. Hmm. I started the engine, and pushed in the clutch. It had some push back, but was about 80% easier then I am used to. I had the T-case in neutral, and neither of the drive shafts installed, figured what the heck, can't hurt to test it out. I put into first gear, and it went in smooth as butter. I actually didn't believe it was actually in gear. I had to jump out, and look under at the rear flange. Yeppers, it was spinning. I went thru all the gears, and couldn't believe it. I then put it into front Low range only, and watched the front yolk spin. :)

I can't feel or hear it, go into any gear on the shifter, or the pedal. It is dead silent, and it takes zero effort. This can't be right, is it? Am I so used to a screwed up clutch, that I don't know what a normal working clutch is supposed to feel like? :confused2:

So yesterday afternoon, the driveline shop calls, and informs me the new shafts are ready to be picked up, but they close in an hour. Sweet... wait... they are 1.5 hrs away. :(
They are closed until the middle of next week due to the Holiday on Tue. :banghead:

The new custom VSS convertor never showed like the guy said it would either. Sigh.... Another week until I can move this thing out of the driveway, and see if all my hard work has either worked out, or made more work for me.

All these long winded posts, and little pics to go along. I will change that soon, and add some shortly. I will also have some action shots and hopefully video of the trip I am prepping for. Yes, all this recent work is been for another (for me) epic trip. Still more to come, as I am not done yet. :)

Feel like Steve Martin in the Jerk, when the new Phone book arrived.

UPS caught me off guard and handed me the long awaited VSS Converter from Nevada Speedo. I had no idea what to expect with this thing.

So instead of the VSS going into the case, the cable does, then the 10" length I asked for goes to the signal converter, which plugs up to my harness connector.

I will install this tomorrow. New shafts picked up the day after. Almost home!!

VSS convert for Atlass.jpg

That's a neat contraption. Is that made for older transmissions, the cable end being like a C6/C4/FMX type?

That's a neat contraption. Is that made for older transmissions, the cable end being like a C6/C4/FMX type?

Yes sir. The same type.

This speedo assembly in the Atlas is modeled off the Dana 300 case found in the 80's YJ/TJ Jeeps. I'm sure it was a planned decision, being Jeep has dominated the Off road world here.

95-97.5 Explorers have a unique style VSS. Ford used a signal impulse convertor with the mechanical gear driven sensor. This Atlas VSS is basically the same thing in concept, just in a diff drive mechanism. Instead of a gear turning the internals, it is a cable. With the tone ring used for both the ABS, and VSS in 97.5+ Explorers, they did away with the t-case gear driven VSS altogether. For this setup, AA sells a blocking plate for the speedo hole.

Since Advanced Adapters (AA) chooses to use this type of VSS gear drive, a converter was needed to accommodate the newer OBDII Electric signals in certain makes/models.. This is where the other company in Nevada comes in. They make anything speedometer related, albeit stock or custom, they can make it to an individuals needs/wants. Notice it has the big threaded collar for the case assembly on it. AA works hand in hand with Nevada Speedo, and even print the company name & # in the install manual and on the website.

The 1st gen Explorers and Pre 98 Rangers all use the cable type speedo. Same goes for many other older makes/models. These cable vehicles can use a different VSS adapter, that uses the original cable.

Thanks Greg for that excellent information and explanation. I'm still hoping I can use the later VSS sensor from the 97 Explorer, for my old Ranchero(using 97.5 PCM and 4R70W).

Nice job Greg. Wish you could make it out here this year for our week long trip.

Thank you Matt, and so do I. Still need reliable tow pig, and trailer for that trip. I'm working my butt off, and trying to make it happen for the future!

Thanks Greg for that excellent information and explanation. I'm still hoping I can use the later VSS sensor from the 97 Explorer, for my old Ranchero(using 97.5 PCM and 4R70W).

That should have a stock cable drive Speedo to the trans. Sounds like your going to be doing an OBDII conversion. For that setup, I think the cluster needs modified / changed. I wonder if that Nevada speedo shop can help?

P.S. I always over explain everything, for the benefit of others, that are searching for answers. I know you know, a lot about a lot of this stuff, but you always seem to give me the opportunity, to give a big winded answer. lol :)

Me too, same here. I'm outside today working on the yard/house, and the cars. Rain's a coming too.

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So I can't install the new VSS, as the cable rod end is too long. It bottoms out inside the gear, and stops the flared end 1/2" away, from mating to the speedo assembly. I want to cut it down to size, in the worse way right now, but decided to hold off until I talk to Nevada Speedo. This was not a cheap part by no means, and I want their consent, in case it doesn't work when connected. Of course today is a holiday, and they are closed. Whats another day, right? :(

I am going to give RedLine specialty another try with the leather shifter boot. They sent me one that was too short, then sent me one that the bottom wasn't large enough to fit the console opening. I gave up on them after that. This was 8 years ago.
This time, they give the option to increase/decrease size when ordering, and include a comment section for special requests. I told them the console opening was 8"x8" and I need at least a 9"x9" opening on the boot, for it to fit.

They charged me $9 for using the comment box. LMAO! I should be worried with that, but I'm not gonna sweat it until I have the boot in hand. if it doesn't fit again, shame on me. If it does fit, then I will be happy, and forget all the past crap with them. They are in Poland, and leather goods have to clear customs, which can take forever to receive a custom item. Let the fun's begin! lol

Decided to get rid of the little Cobra 19 CB, and get the Cobra 75 handheld. It's a much better unit, and will get the 19 out of the console. It worked, but is a PITA to operate when on the trails navigating. I keep breaking the Antenna too. The spring used for it breaks the center wire, and the tip keeps snapping off from tree limbs. so I am looking for a better location somewhere in the back and get a longer FireStick. I will lose the PA speaker tho, as the 75 doesn't have that output.

When the spare tire swingout is made, it will open up some room inside. I am shopping for a good fridge/freezer to mount in the back on top of the cargo box, with a pull out slider base.

I am also thinking about the ARB canopy for the Drivers side roof. I don't really use that side at all. I have made a holder for a full size maul axe, but don't put it on. Decided it is a bad idea to have that up there in public. Can be taken off to break into the rig, or used in other nefarious ways by a stranger. No way to really lock it in without degrading the handle integrity. I will get a handheld maul splitter to use with the BFH.

Modified Driveshaft install..... T-minus 1 day. :D

Always something with these rigs!